Twenty-nine states have deregulated electricity, natural gas or both. That allows you to shop for the supply portion of your bill from alternative providers who may offer rates lower than the default supplier – usually a utility. Delivery services and billing will remain the responsibility of the local utility as they own the power lines and wires that keep the lights on.
Utility companies, who invest large amounts of their capital into grid infrastructure, don’t have cash on hand to make bulk electricity purchases. They’re paying as they go, and they’re passing on the cost of this spur-of-the-moment buying to you, the consumer. The price utilities pay for electricity changes constantly, affected by uncontrollable variables like changing fuel prices, fluctuating operational costs between various types of power plants, infrastructure costs, reduced demand due to increased energy efficiency, and regulatory changes. Local power utility customers then wind up getting charged whatever the going rate may be at that moment.
Energy Rating. Contracts: Before, there were no contracts. You signed up or you didn’t. When it’s the only game in town, you have to play by their rules. Nowadays, you’ll see these ultra-fabulous rates bandied about but it’s only by carefully scrutinizing the fine print that you’ll discover those wonderful rates come with a one-year lock-down or other catches.